Influence of Aerobic Exercise Induced Arousal on Neutral Word List Retrieval in Young Adults


  • Dorien Blezer
  • Shauna Cortenraad
  • Janin Duijn
  • Sofia Kalaai
  • Alexandra Pres
  • Anuschka Theden
  • Lieveke Vonk


arousal, memory retrieval, aerobic exercise


Previous studies have shown that arousal during the encoding and consolidation phases facilitates memory performance, and that arousing stimuli are better remembered. The current study shifts attention to physical arousal in the retrieval phase. This study was designed to test whether physically induced arousal can enhance memory for neutral words. Participants (N = 48) were randomized over a control and an aerobic condition. On the first day they memorized a list of 30 words, on the second day they either watched a documentary or executed an aerobic cycling exercise before performing a memory recall and recognition test for the words memorized at day one. Prior to the main analyses a manipulation check on subjective and physiological arousal was conducted and a successful condition manipulation was confirmed. However, the analyses showed no significant difference in memory performance between groups. Implications and limitations are discussed.